I am well aware that being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a very prestigous honor that should be awarded to players who accomplish greatly on the football field. What about off the field? Could a football player be eligible because of his character and accomplishments off the field?
After the attacks of 9/11, Patrick Tillman who was playing safety for the Arizona Cardinals retired from the game of football, leaving a lucrative career, to enlist in the Army Rangers. Patrick Tillman served from 2002 to 2004 due to his death in Afghanistan. Patrick Tillman was picked 226th by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL draft and played 4 seasons before enlisting. The question here is, Should Pat Tillman be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Here you have a selfless man who turned down millions of dollars to serve his country only to have his life ended at 27 years young. The man only played 4 seasons in the NFL but can you imagine if he would've played 10? 12? Maybe even 15? He was the 226th pick and started 10 out of 16 games his rookie season. Tillman finished his career with 238 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 pass deflections in 60 career games. Not impressive numbers but impressive for a guy who earned the last scholarship available from Arizona State then later being named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year his senior year.
I don't want to take anything away from any of the players who are currently in the HOF but some of the current inductees are straight assholes. Lawrence Taylor is arguably the best outside linebacker to ever play the game. Lawrence Taylor is also arguably one of the biggest coke fiends to ever play the game as well. Oh yeah and the guy just got pinched for trying to order a hooker who just so happened to be 16 years old. Because he was an animal on the field does that mean we should overlook his character off the field? Michael Irvin was a freak at wide receiver but was also a vital piece to a sex crazed, drug addicted team that was notorious for their shenanigans off the field. Because they were winning Super Bowls is that a reason to look the other way when they get busted having open coke buffet parties?
This has got to be one of the reasons you see these college athletes getting in trouble so much off the field. They have been bred to think that because they can throw, catch, or tackle well, they are virtually invincible to getting reprimanded for their negative actions. Then you have good citizens who are good athletes, not great, but good and they don't get the recognition they deserve.
I'm not saying that a player should not be allowed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame because they got into trouble off the field. All I'm saying is a guy like Pat Tillman who performed such a noble act off the field for the sake of others should be recognized by awarding him with the highest honor in the third love of his life. Because as we all can see, Patrick Tillman loved his country and his family more than the game of football.